Colorado State Troopers are highly visible on our roads and keep us all safe. Working as a State Trooper is an honor for the people in the force. To become a Colorado State Trooper one has usually to go through the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy. Is the training academy providing different training compared to other police departments? In this review I am going to take a closer look behind the curtain to see how future State Troopers are trained and educated at the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy.
The trainings program at the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy is set for 22 weeks of mandatory training at the academy. This 22 week training is followed by a 10 week field training program. One thing that is different for the State Patrol Academy is that there is no lateral transfer or training program. Many other police academies in the State have such programs available. However, the State Patrol motivates all law enforcement personnel to apply anyway.
Like all other police academies the State Training Academy is based on the P.O.S.T. program. But what are the minimum requirements to become a Colorado State Trooper? Applicants need to be 21 years old by the time classes are starting, but can apply earlier. A GED or High School diploma is the minimum educational level one has to possess to be accepted to the academy training program. As with any kind of employment, applicants must be legal permanent residents or US Citizens to be able to work in the United States and the State of Colorado. Applicants also need a valid Colorado Driver’s License.
The Colorado State Patrol Academy requires that applicants pass a fitness test before being accepted into the Police Academy program. The pre-hire fitness test consists of an obstacle course and a reactionary drill in which applicants have five minutes to complete the obstacle course and the reactionary drill. This test is not comparable to the LawFit test at this point. Click here to see the complete list of tasks the applicants need to complete to pass the pre-hire test. Once an applicant is accepted into the academy fitness training will start in week #2 and continue through the entire 22 week police training. If you are not in shape at the beginning of class you definitely will be at the end when you (eventually) graduate from the Colorado State Patrol Academy Training Program. A total of 3 physical fitness assessments are conducted during the training program (Week 2, Week 10, and Week 19). If you want to prepare before applying, the Colorado State Troopers have a great website with information and practice exercises ready for you.
Once you are enrolled into the academy program your life will definitely change. The academy is a quasi-military academy and if you are new to this type of environment it will take a little bit of adjustment. The training program is made of 3 phases. For the first 7 weeks recruits are required to live on academy grounds for 5 days per week. Training itself includes military-style drills. The schedule for each day is very tight and packed with physical fitness training, drills, classroom education, and outside training (e.g. driving, firearms training, etc.). The website for the Colorado State Patrol Academy lists a lot of training related information. If you are interested in diving deep into the class and training material, their website is definitely for you.
The one thing I really like about the State Patrol Academy is that it puts a lot of emphasis on structure, discipline, and building character through their training program for the recruits. This Police Academy really raises the bar very high and only the best will be able to be accepted and to make it through the training program.
The Colorado State Patrol Academy has one added benefit that is worthwhile exploring. The Academy has been reviewed and endorsed by Mesa State College and as a result completion and graduation from the academy earns the recruits 54 semester hours towards a 60 semester A.A.S. degree on Criminal Justice. The remaining 6 semester hours can be taken online by recruits that are interested in further advancing their education level. Definitely worth considering if you are a) in it for the long haul and b) have plans to move up in rankings and into an advanced leadership with the Police Force.